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Privy Council orders new appeal for Donna Vasyli

Accused murderer Donna Vasyli yesterday got another chance to fight a retrial for the murder of her husband.

The Privy Council sent the case back to the Court of Appeal to hear arguments on whether Vasyli should be tried a second time for the March 24, 2015 murder of Australian millionaire podiatrist Philip Vasyli.

The ruling came after Thomas Roe, QC, conceded on behalf of the director of public prosecutions that the Court of Appeal’s reasons for allowing a retrial in 2017 could not stand.

The Privy Council did not order a retrial as requested by Roe, ruling that a decision for a retrial rested with the Court of Appeal.

At the appeal, defense lawyer Clare Montgomery, QC, argued that the order for a retrial was wrong in law because the Court of Appeal did not give Vasyli’s lawyers the opportunity to make submissions regarding a new trial; that the Court of Appeal president failed to examine the overall strength of the case, and the case was unsustainable.

Both parties asked the Privy Council to determine whether Vasyli had a case to answer.

Roe accepted that if there were no case, it would not be in the interests of justice to order a retrial.

By contrast, Montgomery said even if a case had been made out, a retrial would be unfair as it would permit the prosecution to correct evidential deficiencies.

The Privy Council determined that there was a case to answer.

The Privy Council ruled, “Although the Court of Appeal have indicated how they would be likely to exercise that discretion, that was without the benefit of submissions from the appellant.

“The balancing exercise needs to be carried out by reference to conditions now, rather than at the time of their earlier decision.

“The Board also wishes to emphasize that since the parties agreed that the Board should determine the question of whether there was a case to answer, which it has done, that issue should not be included in the matters remitted.”

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Artesia Davis

Artesia primarily covers court stories, but she also writes extensively about crime.

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